SHEPHERD'S-PURSE

Capsella bursa-pastoris

Cabbage Family [Brassicaceae]

month8jan month8feb month8mar month8march month8apr month8april month8may month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug month8sep month8sept month8oct month8nov month8dec

status
statusZarchaeophyte
flower
flower8white
inner
inner8yellow
morph
morph8actino
petals
petalsZ4
stem
stem8round

4th April 2007, Leeds & L/pool canal, Wigan. Photo: © RWD
A foot high annual most likely to be found in the nicks between pavement and wall.


10th April 2011, Marsden, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Stems leavesclasp the stem but are very few. Heart-shaped seed pods well separated on glaucous green stem.


22nd June 2007, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Seed pods heart-shaped, sometimes flat, other times bulging, with ridge down centre.


3rd June 2005, Leeds & L/pool Canal, Wigan. Photo: © RWD
Flowers small, barely 3mm across, white, petals hardly splayed, mostly clustered at the top. Four sepals.


13 June 2011, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Flowers normally very slow to open properly.


10th April 2011, Marsden, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Four rounded white petals slightly splayed apart. Heart-shaped seed pod grows within, pushing aside the petals.


10th April 2011, Marsden, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Seed pods growing within the flowers.


10th April 2011, Marsden, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Six stamens bearing cream-coloured pollen at tip. seed pods growing within.


22nd June 2007, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Seed pods have distinct ridge down centre and are on extended stalks, almost at right-angles to the main stem.


10th April 2011, Marsden, Yorkshire. Photo: © RWD
Seed pods turn chocolate brown before drying to a straw colour.


22nd June 2007, Walkden, Gtr M/cr. Photo: © RWD
Most leaves are in basal rosette. Leaves highly variable, sometimes with teeth other times deeply lobed.


4th April 2007, Leeds & L/pool canal, Wigan. Photo: © RWD
Basal leaves here deeply lobed.


Easily confused with : Red Shepherd's-Purse [but that has reddish flowers and is scarce confined to the South of England only]

Hybridizes with : Red Shepherd's-Purse (Capsella rubella) to produce Capsella × gracilis.

Not to be semantically confused with: Shepherd's Needle (Scandix pecten-veneris) or Shepherd's Cress (Tessdalia nudicaulis) [plants of similar name]

Uniquely identifiable characteristics

Distinguishing Feature :

Shepherd's-Purse is easily recognised by the highly distinctive heart-shaped seed pods said to resemble a purse. It grows on waste ground, cracks between paving and walls and or on disturbed cultivated soils. It flowers throughout the year apart from during the duration of hard winters. The flowers are small, between 2 and 3mm across and most do not open fully. It was once a wild flower of Europe, but it has since invaded the UK where it has become an urban weed.

It contains several flavonoids: Rutin, Hesperidin and Diosmin which is the di-glycoside of the flavonol Diosmetin The amino acid Proline, the monoterpene Camphor and the glucosinolate Sinigrin are also present.


  Capsella bursa-pastoris  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Brassicaceae  

Distribution
 family8Cabbage family8Brassicaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Capsella
Capsella
(Shepherd's-Purses)

SHEPHERD'S-PURSE

Capsella bursa-pastoris

Cabbage Family [Brassicaceae]

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